Introduction to The Card ME Program

What is Card ME?

The Card ME Program aims to reduce illegal and/or irresponsible alcohol sales and service by providing communities and liquor licensees with a model and resources to:

  • Make it more difficult for underage and visibly intoxicated persons to obtain alcohol from liquor licensees,
  • Increase a licensee's capacity and motivation in improving their responsible retailing efforts, and
  • Build stronger community norms around limiting alcohol availability to underage and visibly intoxicated persons.

The Card ME Program is a voluntary responsible alcohol sales/service program that takes an innovative approach to reducing sales of alcohol to minors and visibly intoxicated persons. The program provides managers and owners with free tools to help set norms and expectations around selling/serving alcohol at their business.

The Program provides:

  • Free information on responsible alcohol sales/service best practices,
  • Tools, including free materials, to assess and address strengths and weaknesses in a licensee’s current alcohol sales/service policy and practices,
  • Suggestions for no-to-low cost changes that can help reduce the risk of violating state liquor laws.

How is Card ME different from other programs?

Card ME is a collaborative model, based upon Community Policing principles, in which state agencies and communities assist retailers and bars to identify, implement and sustain effective responsible retailing systems. Card ME aims to increase capacity for responsible alcohol beverage sales/service at 3 levels: state, community, and licensee. Card ME also aims to replace a deterrence only model, where enforcement alone is meant to deter illegal alcohol sales, with a more proactive approach to preventing illegal alcohol sales.

Traditionally, most responsible retailing programs offered to businesses selling alcohol have focused on infrequent training for clerks or servers. Having employees participate in state-certified seller-server training is an important strategy, and should not be replaced by this program, but infrequent seller-server training alone will not likely create long-term change. The Card ME Program focuses on on-going education and reminders for all employees, as well as support for improving the utilization of strong alcohol sales/service policies and practices.

What materials are available through the Card ME program ?

The Card ME Program also offers materials to assist licensees in assessing their need for and to improve implemention of on-going responsible alcohol sales/service best practices.

These resources include:

  • A Guide for management of Maine liquor licensees which highlights important Maine liquor laws and best practices they can begin implementing in their establishment to protect their business and their community
  • Posters and signage for the public and employee areas which communicate state laws and store policies
  • Materials to inform customers of the business’ commitment to responsible retailing of age-restricted products
  • Pay stub labels for employees to act as on-going reminders of laws and policies around selling age-restricted products
  • Occurrence log for employees and management to communicate with each other about illegal or questionable attempts to purchase age-restricted products.

Card ME Materials are available in versions for both:

On-Premise liquor licensees (bars/restaurants/taverns)

Off-Premise liquor licensees (grocery stores/convenience stores/agency liquor stores)

How can liquor licensees participate in Card ME?

All Maine liquor licensees are eligible to participate in this free, voluntary program. Some of the local Healthy Maine Partnerships will be soliciting relevant businesses in their service areas to participate in this voluntary program. If you are interested in participating or would like more information about the Card ME program, contact your local Healthy Maine Partnership or the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services at

How may I access the Card ME materials?

We strongly encourage Maine liquor licensees to consider connecting with their local Healthy Maine Partnership to collaboratively implement the Card ME program. By working together, both can play a role in decreasing the illegal sale of alcohol in your community which protects businesses, young people, and the public as a whole. Some of the Card ME materials are available via this Web site.


Want to know more about promoting Card ME and No Buts! when working with retailers?

Check out: A Guide To Presenting NO BUTS! and Card ME to Retailers at this link:

How can I learn more about the Card ME Program?

You may obtain additional information through the web pages highlighted in the Additional Information section of this page. If you need additional information, please contact the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services at (207) 287-8900 or